The right outlook makes a big difference during revisions!


How many July days have you needed to keep a lamp lit the entire day? I clicked the switch on as I entered the family room yesterday morning and turned it out fifteen hours later.  The entire time I needed extra light to keep the day’s grey gloom at bay.

The morning sky slouched into the trees, letting wisps of mist settle between branches. Later the mist became drizzle, and moisture accumulated until it trickled from the deck umbrella.

The forecast for today was no better, and as I planned for this post I contemplated my collection of photos, wondering what might brighten another cheerless day. Perhaps this rhododendron, taken as it basked in Saturday’s sunshine.

But it didn’t reflect the dreary truth, so I grabbed the camera and ventured out into the rain, expecting to capture a soggy, bedraggled bloom to throw onto the page. Instead, I found rain-washed glory, and liquid diamonds.

Raindrops captured in a spider's web

My outlook was typical of my approach to the novel revision that currently bugs me. I’m not pleased with some of the scenes and it’s tempting to think there’s nothing worth salvaging. I mull over them day after day, moody and miserable, convinced the writing is pedantic. I decide the only thing to do is delete the scenes and rewrite from scratch, but when I open the file and take an in-depth look, I discover unexpected gems that are worth saving, bright spots that convince me they belong in the story.

Often, when the Inner Critic is being persuasive about the terrible caliber of our writing, it’s our own perspective that’s skewed. Instead of dwelling on the negatives maybe we need to take a break, adjust our attitude, refocus, and determine to look for the bits of genius (don’t laugh… I’m trying to be positive here) that are worth saving.

Do emotions affect your perception of the quality of your writing? How do you keep your moods in check so you can be more unbiased? Or do you perhaps use your moods to help you colour particular scenes?


“The Lord shall open unto thee his good treasure,
the heaven to give the rain unto thy land in his season,
and to bless all the work of thine hand.”
[Deuteronomy 28:12a KJV]

I Like It. She Doesn’t.

Not long ago I mentioned that I don’t choose books based on reviews. What one reader likes in a story isn’t always what satisfies another. Do you ever wonder why that is? Why one agent passes on a manuscript because it doesn’t ignite a spark, and yet another agent will become a passionate advocate of the same story?

Some years ago I designed a small stained glass piece for a church group in Port Alberni — a fish symbol suspended on the diagonal midway between the indigo of sky and ocean, and the green of land. Deciding on exactly the right colours wasn’t easy. Depending on where it would hang (south-facing window, on a wall, in a dark alcove, etc.), the light would affect the perception of its colours.

A Benedictine monastery near where I live provides a worshipful environment enhanced by the effect of unusual stained glass windows. The chapel is circular, and the colours of the glass gradually change from one window to another around the perimeter. Depending on the time of day and location of the sun, the light infusing the chapel glows with different hues.

It’s only my opinion, but my heart tells me that each individual sees the intensity of colour differently, according to where they stand in a room. Each feels degrees of emotion in relation to their own experiences. Each receives an author’s words into the unique arena of their own preferences.

One person likes our writing. Another doesn’t. It’s nothing personal. Then again, it’s all about personal taste and individual choice. It’s true in stained glass, in all forms of art, so why not in writing?